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Rural Health Information Hub

Catalysts for Community Health

Summary 
  • Need: To help low-income and rural community members access health information at their libraries.
  • Intervention: C4CH pilot-tested an interdisciplinary program of study designed to train Master of Library and Information Science students to become health information resources for underserved communities.
  • Results: The cohort of 10 students is graduating in summer 2022.

Description

Catalysts for Community Health (C4CH) is a cohort of 10 Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students at the University of Missouri School of Information Science & Learning Technologies who will become health information resources for underserved communities. The students took online classes and completed training while they learned about and contributed expertise to local networks including libraries and community health settings like hospitals, senior centers, and school programs. They also gained experience creating public programs with open-access health information resources.

map of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) MidContinental Region
Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) MidContinental Region

Program coordinators recruited students from the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) MidContinental Region: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming. The current cohort consists of students from Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska.

C4CH was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Services offered

The C4CH program:

  • Creates information and curriculum resources
  • Develops outreach and programming with students and collaborators
  • Trains students to lead community health information networks

Results

Ten students completed this program. These students created a variety of health information guides as part of their program on topics such as:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Consumer Health
  • Diabetes
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Resources
  • Self Care: Mental Health Resources for Adults

Challenges

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students could not work with community partners in person or work inside their own libraries at times. Instead, students worked with partners, including NNLM, and completed projects online. While there are disadvantages and challenges to working remotely, program coordinators say that these remote opportunities were fruitful. Students were able to work these online projects into their community and classwork.

Replication

Librarians can encourage promising employees to earn their MLIS or to work through certifications offered by their state or national organization such as the Medical Library Association. Recruit employees who are interested in staying in their communities and helping improve the health of community members.

Faculty in other MLIS programs can work closely with faculty in other disciplines to make sure that information from the cross-disciplinary curriculum is still useful to students as librarians. Meet with other faculty to discuss your needs and purpose for the program, and work with an advisory team to figure out how courses from other departments, such as public health and medical informatics, are relevant or useful.

Contact Information

Jenny Bossaller, Associate Professor
University of Missouri School of Information Science & Learning Technologies
bossallerj@missouri.edu

Topics
Health literacy
Population health
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served
Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska

Date added
June 10, 2021

Date updated or reviewed
June 1, 2022

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2022. Catalysts for Community Health [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/1090 [Accessed 2 February 2023]


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.